Only 2 years in, Corrections Canada slamming doors on $9M Regina training academy

Correctional Service Canada says it's shutting its Regina-based national training academy for new prison guards and moving the facility to Kingston, Ont., next year, less than two years after the facility opened.

Correctional Service Canada cites 'operational reasons' for shutting site located at RCMP depot

Correctional Service Canada says it's moving its national academy for training new prison guards from its current home in Regina (pictured here) to Kingston, Ont. (Correctional Service Canada)

You might say its term was cut short. 

Correctional Service Canada is shutting its Regina-based national training academy for new federal prison guards and moving the facility to Kingston, Ont., next year.

The announcement, confirmed Friday, comes less than two years after the training academy opened at the RCMP Academy, Depot Division, which is located on the west side of the city.

The move also comes after the service and the RCMP spent a combined $9 million retrofitting the depot to accommodate what's been billed as a "state-of-the-art" academy.

In an emailed statement to CBC News, Correctional Service Canada said it was moving the academy effective April 1, 2018, for "operational reasons."

The academy, billed as 'state-of-the-art,' is currently home to 49 recruits. It has a capacity for double that. (Correctional Service Canada)

"It is important for CSC recruits to have a dedicated place to learn, train and connect with others — a place that fosters confidence, pride and teamwork," Corrections Canada said in its statement.

When asked to elaborate on those "operational reasons," the service directed further questions to the RCMP, which did not provide a comment as of Friday evening.

Meant to last at least 5 years

The training academy, taking up two floors in the RCMP depot, opened to some fanfare in December 2015.

Ralph Goodale, the federal minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the MP for Regina-Wascana, helped cut the ribbon.

Don Head, the commissioner of Correctional Service Canada, left, is shown with Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, who opened the facility in December 2015. (Correctional Service Canada)

The project also received a 2015 award from the Real Property Institute of Canada in recognition of the partnership between CSC and the RCMP, which was meant to last at least five years.  

The facility's two floors include include minimum-, medium- and maximum-security simulation areas featuring cells, principal entrances, an inmate yard, classrooms, offices and a physical-training area for staff.

As of Friday, 49 recruits were on site receiving hands-on experience with metal detectors, X-ray machines and electronic door systems. The academy has a capacity for 96 recruits.

The academy gives attendees hands-on experience with metal detectors, X-ray machines and electronic door systems. (Correctional Service Canada)

The opening of the facility centralized the training of recruits in Regina. Before that, recruits were trained at five regional correctional staff colleges located in Memramcook, N.B.; Laval, Que.; Kingston, Ont., Abbotsford, B.C., and Saskatoon.

10 employees affected

According to Correctional Service Canada, the academy's 10 employees will be reassigned to other posts within the service.

"Employees have the choice to relocate to another region or to stay within the Prairie region," according to the emailed statement.

The service and the RCMP split the cost of the retrofits made to the depot from 2013 to 2015, with the service spending $5.4 million and the RCMP spending the remaining $3.6 million.